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1.  SNPs in PTGS2 and LTA Predict Pain and Quality of Life in Long Term Lung Cancer Survivors 
Lung cancer survivors report the lowest quality of life relative to other cancer survivors. Pain is one of the most devastating, persistent, and incapacitating symptoms for lung cancer survivors. Prevalence rates vary with 80–100% of survivors experiencing cancer pain and healthcare costs are five times higher in cancer survivors with uncontrolled pain. Cancer pain often has a considerable impact on quality of life among cancer patients and cancer survivors. Therefore, early identification, and treatment is important. Although recent studies have suggested a relationship between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in several cytokine and inflammation genes with cancer prognosis, associations with cancer pain are not clear. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to identify SNPs related to pain in long term lung cancer survivors.
Participants were enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Lung Cancer Cohort upon diagnosis of their lung cancer. 1149 Caucasian lung cancer survivors, (440 surviving < 3 years; 354 surviving 3–5 years; and 355 surviving> 5 years) completed study questionnaires and had genetic samples available. Ten SNPS from PTGS2 and LTA genes were selected based on the serum literature. Outcomes included pain, and quality of life as measured by the SF-8.
Of the 10 SNPs evaluated in LTA and PTGS2 genes, 3 were associated with pain severity (rs5277; rs1799964), social function (rs5277) and mental health (rs5275). These results suggested both specificity and consistency of these inflammatory gene SNPs in predicting pain severity in long term lung cancer survivors.
These results provide support for genetic predisposition to pain severity and may aid in identification of lung cancer survivors at high risk for morbidity and poor QOL.
PMCID: PMC4314090  PMID: 22464751
genetics; SNPs; pain; quality of life; lung cancer; cytokines; LTA; PTGS2
2.  Increased BCAR1 predicts poor outcomes of non-small cell lung cancer in multiple-center patients 
Annals of surgical oncology  2013;20(0 3):S701-S708.
We aimed to study the prognostic value of BCAR1 expression and its associations with clinical-demographical characteristics in multiple centers of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
Gene expression microarray (mRNA) of 77 adenocarcinomas from Mayo Clinic, RNA-sequencing of 508 NSCLC from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and immunohistochemistry(IHC) stain of BCAR1-protein expression in 150 cases from Daping Hospital were included in the study. The association of mRNA or protein expression with patient clinical characteristics and overall survival was assessed in each dataset. We also predicted microRNAs (miRNA) that target BCAR1- using bioinformatics prediction tools and evaluated miRNA expression patterns with BCAR1 expression in miRNA-sequencing data of 74 lung cancer cases from TCGA dataset.
In the Mayo Clinic dataset, a higher BCAR1-mRNA level was significantly correlated with more advanced tumor-stage and lymphatic metastasis. Similar changes were observed in the TCGA RNA-seq dataset. Additionally, higher BCAR1-mRNA levels predicted poorer survival in adenocarcinoma and squamous carcinoma from the TCGA dataset. The protein levels in the adenocarcinoma cases with lymphatic metastasis were significantly higher than of those without metastasis. Tumor tissues demonstrated remarkably higher levels of protein compared with matched normal tissues although there was no significant difference in BCAR1-mRNA expression between tumor and matched normal tissues was detected. In miRNAs that were down-regulated in the tumors, Let-7f-2 and miR-22 differed the most (P<0.001 and P=0.007, respectively).
We confirmed that increased BCAR1 expression predicts poorer prognosis in NSCLC. We postulate mRNA-protein decoupling of BCAR1 may be a result of reduced inhibition of specific miRNAs in tumor tissues, which warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC4010387  PMID: 23904007
BCAR1; NSCLC; prognosis; mRNA; miRNA
3.  Identification and characterization of telocytes in the uterus of the oviduct in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis: TEM evidence 
Telocytes (Tcs) are cells with telopodes (Tps), which are very long cellular extensions with alternating thin segments (podomers) and dilated bead-like thick regions known as podoms. Tcs are a distinct category of interstitial cells and have been identified in many mammalian organs including heart, lung and kidney. The present study investigates the existence, ultrastructure, distribution and contacts of Tcs with surrounding cells in the uterus (shell gland) of the oviduct of the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis. Samples from the uterine segment of the oviduct were examined by transmission electron microscopy. Tcs were mainly located in the lamina propria beneath the simple columnar epithelium of the uterus and were situated close to nerve endings, capillaries, collagen fibres and secretory glands. The complete morphology of Tcs and Tps was clearly observed and our data confirmed the existence of Tcs in the uterus of the Chinese soft-shelled turtle Pelodiscus sinensis. Our results suggest these cells contribute to the function of the secretory glands and contraction of the uterus.
PMCID: PMC4302644  PMID: 25230849
telocytes; uterus; Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis); ultrastructure
4.  Intracranial multiple germ cell tumors: a case report and review of literature 
Intracranial multiple germ cell tumors (GCTs) are rare. In this article, we reported a case of intracranial multiple GCTs in an 18-year-old boy with symptoms of psychosis for 8 months also. Tumors in the pineal, sellar region, corpus callosum, bilateral lateral ventricles and fourth ventricle were confirmed by enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and stereotactic biopsy. Immunohistochemical analysis results demonstrated that the tumor cells were positive for CD117 and placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP). The patient was treated by radiotherapy and the prescribed radiation doses were 18 Gy. After near 24 months of follow-up, no local recurrence and distant metastasis has been found.
PMCID: PMC4314009
Intracranial multiple germ cell tumors; symptoms of psychosis; pineal; sellar region; corpus callosum; lateral ventricles
5.  Red yeast rice repairs kidney damage and reduces inflammatory transcription factors in rat models of hyperlipidemia 
Xuezhikang (XZK), an extract of red yeast rice, has been widely used for the management of hyperlipidemia and coronary heart disease (CHD); however, the effects of XZK treatment on kidney injury have not yet been fully identified. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effects of XZK on the kidneys and investigate the related mechanisms in a rat model of hyperlipidemia. Thus, the effect on inflammatory transcription factors and kidney damage was investigated with in vitro and in vivo experiments on hyperlipidemic rats following XZK treatment. The results revealed that the plasma levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG) and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) were significantly decreased, while the levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) were significantly upregulated in the XZK treatment group, as compared with those in the hyperlipidemia group (P<0.05). In addition, the results demonstrated that XZK was able to repair the kidney damage caused by hyperlipidemia. Furthermore, the expression levels of the inflammatory transcription factors, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6, were shown to be reduced in the XZK group when compared with the hyperlipidemia group. In summary, XZK reduces kidney injury, downregulates the levels of TG, TC and LDL-C, as well as the expression levels of inflammatory transcription factors, and upregulates HDL-C. These results further the understanding of the molecular pathogenic mechanisms underlying hyperlipidemia and aid the development of XZK as an effective therapeutic agent for hyperlipidemia.
PMCID: PMC4217782  PMID: 25371725
xuezhikang; hyperlipidimia; kidney function; tumor necrosis factor-α; interleukin-6
6.  Effects of epigallocatechin gallate on the proliferation and apoptosis of the nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line CNE2 
The present study explored the effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on the cell cycle, proliferation and apoptosis of the nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line CNE2 in vitro. The proliferation of CNE2 cells was detected using the cell counting kit-8 method. Cell cycle distribution and apoptosis were detected using flow cytometry. The human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) mRNA expression was determined using reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions. The protein expression of hTERT and Myc proto-oncogene protein (c-Myc) was observed using western blot analysis. EGCG inhibited the proliferation of CNE2 cells in a concentration-dependent manner (P<0.05) and blocked the cell cycle progression of the cells. In the low concentration (100 μg/ml) group, the cell cycle arrest showed a time-dependent manner. However, as the concentration increased and action time was prolonged, this time dependency became less marked. EGCG promoted the apoptosis of CNE2 cells in a time-dependent manner. In addition, EGCG downregulated the mRNA and protein expression of hTERT and downregulated the expression of c-Myc protein. Downregulation of the expression of hTERT and c-Myc was more evident in the high-dose group (200 μg/mL). In conclusion, EGCG has proliferation-inhibiting, cell cycle-blocking and apoptosis-promoting effects on CNE2 cells. EGCG may be developed into an auxiliary therapeutic agent for the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4217784  PMID: 25371733
telomerase; telomerase reverse transcriptase; epigallocatechin gallate; nasopharyngeal carcinoma CNE2 cells
7.  Telmisartan protects 5/6 Nx rats against renal injury by enhancing nNOS-derived NO generation via regulation of PPARγ signaling 
A 5/6 nephrectomized (Nx) rat model was employed to address the impact of telmisartan on CKD related renal injury and the underlying molecular mechanisms. It was noted that telmisartan provided protection for rats against 5/6 Nx induced lethality. Telmisartan treated 5/6 Nx rats manifested improved renal function as characterized by the higher GFR but lower urinary albumin, BUN and Scr as compared with that of control rats. Telmisartan treatment also significantly decreased systolic blood pressure and alleviated glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis. Mechanistic studies revealed that telmisartan possesses the capability to increase NO generation in the kidney. Further studies demonstrated that telmisartan promotes PPARγ expression, by which it specifically enhances nNOS expression in the kidneys after 5/6 Nx insult. Particularly, blockade of PPARγ signaling by GW9662 abolished the protective effect conferred by telmisartan, indicating that telmisartan induction of renal nNOS expression along with NO generation is dependent on PPARγ signaling. Together, our data support that telmisartan could be a promising drug for treatment of chronic kidney diseases in diverse clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC4212926  PMID: 25360216
nNOS; PPARγ; 5/6 nephrectomy; telmisartan; CKD
8.  Correlations between brachial endothelial function and cardiovascular risk factors: a survey of 2,511 Chinese subjects 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(10):1441-1451.
We examined the relationship of several cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) to brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in Chinese subjects.
This was a cross-sectional study. In 2,511 Chinese adults (age 46.86±9.52 years, 1,891 men and 620 women) recruited from people who underwent health screening at The Third Xiangya Hospital, patients’ CVRF [age, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), blood pressure (BP), cholesterol parameters, creatinine (Cr), uric acid (UA), glucose level and smoking] and prevalence of present disease (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease and hyperlipidemia) were investigated.
Multivariate analysis revealed that FMD negative correlated with age (β=–0.29, P<0.001), gender (β=–0.12, P<0.001), BMI (β=–0.12, P=0.001), WC (β=–0.10, P=0.011), systolic BP (SBP) (β=–0.12, P<0.001), fasting glucose (β=–0.04, P=0.009), total cholesterol (TC) (β=–0.04, P=0.014), smoking (β=–0.05, P=0.003), and baseline brachial artery diameter (β=–0.35, P<0.001). FMD decreased with increasing age in both genders. In women, FMD was higher than men and age-related decline in FMD was steepest after age 40; FMD was similar in men above 55 years old.
In Chinese subjects, FMD may be a usefully marker of CVRF. Age, gender, BMI, WC, SBP, fasting glucose, TC, smoking, and baseline brachial artery diameter were independent variables related to the impairment of FMD. The influence of CVRF on endothelial function is more in women than men.
PMCID: PMC4215131  PMID: 25364521
Endothelial function; brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD); cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF)
9.  Clinical features, outcomes and treatment-related pneumonitis in elderly patients with esophageal carcinoma 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(36):13185-13190.
AIM: To investigate the clinical features and prognoses of elderly patients with esophageal carcinoma and to compare the effects of radiotherapy and rates of treatment-related pneumonitis (TRP) between elderly and non-elderly patients.
METHODS: A total of 236 patients with esophageal carcinoma who received radiotherapy between 2002 and 2012 were enrolled. The patients were divided into two groups: an elderly group (age ≥ 65 years) and a non-elderly group (age < 65 years). The tumor position and stage, lymph node and distant metastases, and incidence and severity of TRP were compared. Multivariate analysis was applied to identify independent prognostic factors.
RESULTS: The median overall survival times after radiotherapy in the elderly and non-elderly groups were 18.5 and 20.5 mo, respectively. Cox regression analysis showed that TRP grade and tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage were independent prognostic factors in the elderly group. High-dose radiotherapy (> 60 Gy) was associated with a high incidence of TRP. Tumor TNM staging was significantly different between the two groups in which TRP occurred. Multivariate analysis showed that TNM stage was an independent prognostic factor. Esophageal carcinoma in elderly patients was relatively less malignant compared with that in non-elderly patients.
CONCLUSION: An appropriate dose should be used to decrease the incidence of TRP in radiotherapy, and intensity modulated radiation therapy should be selected if possible.
PMCID: PMC4177500  PMID: 25278715
Esophageal carcinoma; Radiation therapy; Elderly patients; Treatment-related pneumonitis; Survival rate
10.  miR-19a acts as an oncogenic microRNA and is up-regulated in bladder cancer 
The application of microRNAs (miRNAs) as potential biomarkers and therapy targets has been widely investigated in many kinds of cancers. The discovery of tumor associated miRNAs in serum of patients supported the use of plasma/serum miRNAs as noninvasive means of cancer detection. However, the aberrant expression of miRNAs in bladder cancer patients and their intensive roles and mechanisms in bladder cancer are poorly understood.
Taqman probe stem-loop real-time PCR was used to accurately measure the levels of miR-19a in bladder cancer cell lines, 100 pairs of bladder cancer tissues and the adjacent non-neoplastic tissues and also the plasma collected from bladder cancer patients and normal controls. miR-19a mimics and inhibitors were transfected into bladder cancer cells to investigate its role on regulating cell proliferation which was measured by CCK-8 and colony formation assay. The target of miR-19a was identified by western blot and whether its regulatory role depends on its target was improved by a rescue experiment with miR-19a mimic and PTEN expression plasmid.
miR-19a was significantly up-regulated in bladder cancer tissues and high-level of miR-19a was correlative with more aggressive phenotypes of bladder cancer. Meanwhile, gain or loss of function of miR-19a demonstrated that miR-19a can promote cell growth of bladder cancer cells and the further mechanism studies indicated that its oncogenic role was dependent on targeting PTEN. Furthermore, investigation of miR-19a expression in the plasma of bladder cancer patients showed that miR-19a was also increased in plasma of bladder cancer patients which strongly supported miR-19a could be developed as potential diagnostic marker of bladder cancer.
Our data indicated that miR-19a might act as an oncogenic microRNA in bladder cancer and was significantly up-regulated in bladder cancer carcinogenesis. The oncogenic role of miR19a in bladder cancer was dependent on targeting PTEN.
PMCID: PMC4237814  PMID: 25107371
Bladder cancer; miR-19a; PTEN; Circulation miRNA
11.  Loss of Methyl-CpG–Binding Domain Protein 2 Enhances Endothelial Angiogenesis and Protects Mice Against Hind-Limb Ischemic Injury 
Circulation  2011;123(25):2964-2974.
Despite intensive investigation, how DNA methylation influences endothelial function remains poorly understood. We used methyl-CpG–binding domain protein 2 (MBD2), an interpreter for DNA methylome–encoded information, to dissect the impact of DNA methylation on endothelial function in both physiological and pathophysiological states.
Methods and Results
Human umbilical vein endothelial cells under normal conditions express moderate levels of MBD2, but knockdown of MBD2 by siRNA significantly enhanced angiogenesis and provided protection against H2O2-induced apoptosis. Remarkably, Mbd2−/− mice were protected against hind-limb ischemia evidenced by the significant improvement in perfusion recovery, along with increased capillary and arteriole formation. Loss of MBD2 activated endothelial survival and proangiogenic signals downstream of vascular endothelial growth factor signaling characterized by an increase in endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 expression, along with enhanced extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activation and BCL-2 expression. Mechanistic studies confirmed the methylation of CpG elements in the eNOS and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 promoter. MBD2 binds to these methylated CpG elements and suppresses eNOS promoter activity. On ischemic insult, key endothelial genes such as eNOS and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 undergo a DNA methylation turnover, and MBD2 interprets the changes of DNA methylation to suppress their expressions. Moreover, MBD2 modulation of eNOS expression is likely confined to endothelial cells because nonendothelial cells such as splenocytes fail to express eNOS after loss of MBD2.
We provided direct evidence supporting that DNA methylation regulates endothelial function, which forms the molecular basis for understanding how environmental insults (epigenetic factor) affect the genome to modify disease susceptibility. Because MBD2 itself does not affect the methylation of DNA and is dispensable for normal physiology in mice, it could be a viable epigenetic target for modulating endothelial function in disease states.
PMCID: PMC4120778  PMID: 21670230
angiogenesis; DNA methylation; endothelium; MBD2 protein; nitric oxide synthase type III
12.  Inflammatory Stress Increases Hepatic CD36 Translational Efficiency via Activation of the mTOR Signalling Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103071.
Inflammatory stress is an independent risk factor for the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Although CD36 is known to facilitate long-chain fatty acid uptake and contributes to NAFLD progression, the mechanisms that link inflammatory stress to hepatic CD36 expression and steatosis remain unclear. As the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway is involved in CD36 translational activation, this study was undertaken to investigate whether inflammatory stress enhances hepatic CD36 expression via mTOR signalling pathway and the underlying mechanisms. To induce inflammatory stress, we used tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) stimulation of the human hepatoblastoma HepG2 cells in vitro and casein injection in C57BL/6J mice in vivo. The data showed that inflammatory stress increased hepatic CD36 protein levels but had no effect on mRNA expression. A protein degradation assay revealed that CD36 protein stability was not different between HepG2 cells treated with or without TNF-α or IL-6. A polysomal analysis indicated that CD36 translational efficiency was significantly increased by inflammatory stress. Additionally, inflammatory stress enhanced the phosphorylation of mTOR and its downstream translational regulators including p70S6K, 4E-BP1 and eIF4E. Rapamycin, an mTOR-specific inhibitor, reduced the phosphorylation of mTOR signalling pathway and decreased the CD36 translational efficiency and protein level even under inflammatory stress resulting in the alleviation of inflammatory stress-induced hepatic lipid accumulation. This study demonstrates that the activation of the mTOR signalling pathway increases hepatic CD36 translational efficiency, resulting in increased CD36 protein expression under inflammatory stress.
PMCID: PMC4105654  PMID: 25048611
13.  Sumoylation modulates oxidative stress relevant to the viability and functionality of pancreatic beta cells 
Sumoylation is an evolutionarily conserved regulatory mechanism to play an important role in various cellular processes through modulation of protein localization, stability and functionality. Recent studies including ours have consistently demonstrated that sumoylation provides protection for cells against oxidative stress. Given that pancreatic beta cells are a vulnerable target of oxidative stress, we thus in this minireview, updated the advancement of sumoylation in the regulation of ROS generation, and discussed its impact on several critical signaling pathways relevant to beta cells against oxidative stress and maintenance of functionality. Specifically, we bring together how sumoylation represses intracellular ROS formation, and protects beta cells against oxidative stress through regulating IκB/NFκB, JNK/c-Jun, and Maf/Nrf2 pathways. The tight implication of sumoylation in oxidative stress reflects that it could be an essential mechanism for beta cells to adapt to the detrimental cellular microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC4113497  PMID: 25075252
Sumoylation; beta cell; oxidative stress; ROS; diabetes
14.  Associations between apolipoprotein E genotypes and serum levels of glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides in a cognitively normal aging Han Chinese population 
To determine the associations between apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotypes and serum levels of glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in a cognitively normal aging Han Chinese population.
There were 1,003 cognitively normal aging subjects included in this study. APOE genotypes were analyzed and biochemical parameters were tested. All the subjects were divided into three groups according to APOE genotypes: (1) E2/2 or E2/3 (APOE E2); (2) E3/3 (APOE E3); and (3) E2/4, E3/4, or E4/4 (APOE E4). Correlations of serum levels of glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides with APOE genotypes were assessed.
E2, E3, and E4 allele frequencies were found to be 6.2%, 82.1%, and 11.7%, respectively. Serum levels of total cholesterol were higher in the APOE E4 group (P<0.05). A higher level of total cholesterol was associated with the E4 allele (adjusted odds ratio 1.689, 95% confidence interval 1.223–2.334, P<0.01). However, no association was found between APOE status and serum levels of glucose (adjusted odds ratio 0.981, 95% confidence interval 0.720–1.336, P=0.903) or total triglycerides (adjusted odds ratio 1.042, 95% confidence interval 0.759–1.429, P=0.800).
A higher serum level of total cholesterol was significantly correlated with APOE E4 status in a cognitively normal, nondiabetic aging population. However, there was no correlation between APOE genotypes and serum levels of glucose or total triglycerides.
PMCID: PMC4096455  PMID: 25031531
Alzheimer’s disease; APOE; glucose level; cholesterol; triglycerides
15.  Clinical biomarkers of pulmonary carcinoid tumors in never smokers via profiling miRNA and target mRNA 
Cell & Bioscience  2014;4:35.
miRNAs play key regulatory roles in cellular pathological processes. We aimed to identify clinically meaningful biomarkers in pulmonary carcinoid tumors (PCTs), a member of neuroendocrine neoplasms, via profiling miRNAs and mRNAs.
From the total of 1145 miRNAs, we obtained 16 and 17 miRNAs that showed positive and negative fold changes (FCs, tumors vs. normal tissues) in the top 1% differentially expressed miRNAs, respectively. We uncovered the target genes that were predicted by at least two prediction tools and overlapped by at least one-half of the top miRNAs, which yielded 44 genes (FC<-2) and 56 genes (FC>2), respectively. Higher expressions of CREB5, PTPRB and COL4A3 predicted favorable disease free survival (Hazard ratio: 0.03, 0.19 and 0.36; P value: 0.03, 0.03 and 0.08). Additionally, 79 mutated genes have been found in nine PCTs where TP53 was the only repeated mutation.
We identified that the expressions of three genes have clinical implications in PCTs. The biological functions of these biomarkers warrant further studies.
PMCID: PMC4124500  PMID: 25105010
miRNA; mRNA; Carcinoid; Survival
16.  Spiritual Well-being in Lung Cancer Survivors 
PMCID: PMC3669652  PMID: 23420557
Spiritual Well-being; Spirituality; Lung cancer
17.  Genome-wide association study of genetic predictors of overall survival for non-small cell lung cancer in never smokers 
Cancer research  2013;73(13):4028-4038.
To identify the genetic factors that influence overall survival in never smokers who have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we performed a consistency meta-analysis study utilizing genome-wide association approaches for overall survival in 327 never smoker NSCLC patients from the MD Anderson Cancer Center and 293 cases from the Mayo Clinic. We then performed a two-pronged validation of the top 25 variants that included additional validation in 1,256 NSCLC patients from Taiwan and assessment of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and differential expression of genes surrounding the top loci in 70 tumors and matched normal tissues. A total of 94 loci were significant for overall survival in both MD Anderson and Mayo studies in the consistency meta-analysis phase, with the top 25 variants reaching a p-value of 10−6. Two variants of these 25 were also significant in the Taiwanese population: rs6901416 (HR:1.44, 95%CI:1.01-2.06) and rs10766739 (HR:1.23, 95%CI:1.00-1.51). These loci resulted in a reduction in median survival time of at least 8 and 5 months in three populations, respectively. An additional six variants (rs4237904, rs7976914, rs4970833, rs954785, rs485411, and rs10906104) were validated through eQTL analysis that identified significant correlations with expression levels of six genes (LEMD3, TMBIM, ATXN7L2, SHE, ITIH2, and NUDT5, respectively) in normal lung tissue. These genes were also significantly differentially expressed between the tumor and normal lung. These findings identify several novel, candidate prognostic markers for NSCLC in never smokers, with eQTL analysis suggesting a potential biological mechanism for a subset of these observed associations.
PMCID: PMC3719971  PMID: 23704207
18.  microRNA-99a acts as a tumor suppressor and is down-regulated in bladder cancer 
BMC Urology  2014;14:50.
Increasing evidences have documented that microRNAs (miRNAs) act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors in a variety types of cancer. The discovery of tumor associated miRNAs in serum of patients gives rise to extensive investigation of circulating miRNAs in many human cancers which support the use of plasma/serum miRNAs as noninvasive means of cancer detection. However, the aberrant expression of miRNAs and the circulating miRNAs in bladder cancer are less reported.
We used Taqman probe stem-loop real-time PCR to accurately measure the levels of miR-99a in bladder cancer cell lines, 100 pairs of bladder cancer tissues, the adjacent non-neoplastic tissues and plasma collected from bladder cancer patients or control patients. miR-99a mimics were re-introduced into bladder cancer cells to investigate its role on regulating cell proliferation which was measured by CCK-8 assay and cell cycle analysis.
miR-99a was significantly down-regulated in bladder cancer tissues, and even the lower expression of miR-99a was correlative with the more aggressive phenotypes of bladder cancer. Meanwhile, enforced expression of miR-99a can inhibit the cell proliferation of bladder cancer cells. Furthermore, investigation of the expression of miR-99a in plasma of bladder cancer patients showed that miR-99a was also decreased in plasma of bladder cancer patients. The results strongly supported miR-99a as the potential diagnostic marker of bladder cancer.
Our data indicated that miR-99a might act as a tumor suppressor in bladder cancer and was significantly down-regulated in development of bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC4083872  PMID: 24957100
Bladder cancer; miR-99a; Circulation miRNA
19.  Conserved recurrent gene mutations correlate with pathway deregulation and clinical outcomes of lung adenocarcinoma in never-smokers 
BMC Medical Genomics  2014;7:32.
Novel and targetable mutations are needed for improved understanding and treatment of lung cancer in never-smokers.
Twenty-seven lung adenocarcinomas from never-smokers were sequenced by both exome and mRNA-seq with respective normal tissues. Somatic mutations were detected and compared with pathway deregulation, tumor phenotypes and clinical outcomes.
Although somatic mutations in DNA or mRNA ranged from hundreds to thousands in each tumor, the overlap mutations between the two were only a few to a couple of hundreds. The number of somatic mutations from either DNA or mRNA was not significantly associated with clinical variables; however, the number of overlap mutations was associated with cancer subtype. These overlap mutants were preferentially expressed in mRNA with consistently higher allele frequency in mRNA than in DNA. Ten genes (EGFR, TP53, KRAS, RPS6KB2, ATXN2, DHX9, PTPN13, SP1, SPTAN1 and MYOF) had recurrent mutations and these mutations were highly correlated with pathway deregulation and patient survival.
The recurrent mutations present in both DNA and RNA are likely the driver for tumor biology, pathway deregulation and clinical outcomes. The information may be used for patient stratification and therapeutic target development.
PMCID: PMC4060138  PMID: 24894543
Lung adenocarcinoma of never smoker; Somatic mutations; Pathway deregulation; Patient survival
20.  Climate-mediated cooperation promotes niche expansion in burying beetles 
eLife  2014;3:e02440.
The ability to form cooperative societies may explain why humans and social insects have come to dominate the earth. Here we examine the ecological consequences of cooperation by quantifying the fitness of cooperative (large groups) and non-cooperative (small groups) phenotypes in burying beetles (Nicrophorus nepalensis) along an elevational and temperature gradient. We experimentally created large and small groups along the gradient and manipulated interspecific competition with flies by heating carcasses. We show that cooperative groups performed as thermal generalists with similarly high breeding success at all temperatures and elevations, whereas non-cooperative groups performed as thermal specialists with higher breeding success only at intermediate temperatures and elevations. Studying the ecological consequences of cooperation may not only help us to understand why so many species of social insects have conquered the earth, but also to determine how climate change will affect the success of these and other social species, including our own.
eLife digest
The ability to live and work together in groups likely helped the earliest humans to leave their savannah homes in Africa and successfully settle around the globe. In doing so, humans shifted from being savannah specialists to generalists able to cope with a range of different environments. Cooperation is also believed to be a key to the global success of social insects like bees and ants. However, testing the idea that cooperation allows animals to become generalists that thrive in diverse environments—an idea referred to as the ‘social conquest hypothesis’—is difficult.
Climate change has added a new sense of urgency to understanding how species adapt to changing environments, and some studies of humans and other animals have suggested that cooperation may increase or decrease in changing environments. Living in social groups has both benefits and drawbacks: it helps some animals to avoid being eaten by predators, but it also creates more competition for mates, food or other resources. As such, predicting how climate change will impact human and animal societies has also been difficult to test.
Sun et al. have now tested the social conquest hypothesis by looking at how changes in environmental conditions affect the social behavior of the burying beetle. These insects find dead animals and then bury them to be eaten by their larvae. Burying beetles often fight each other to ensure that their own young get exclusive access to a food source. However, working together allows the beetles to bury a carcass before flies and other competitors discover it. Sun et al. compared how much the beetles cooperated at different elevations in the mountains of Taiwan. At each elevation the beetles faced different challenges: higher elevations were colder but had fewer flies, while lower elevations were warmer but had more flies.
Although burying beetles tended to work together more at warmer elevations, where the competition from flies was the most intense, beetles that cooperated with each other were able to successfully breed at all elevations. On the other hand, beetles that were less cooperative were best adapted to raising their young at more moderate elevations, where the climate and competition were less harsh. Similar results were seen when Sun et al. created non-cooperative and cooperative groups of beetles at different elevations and provided each group with a rat carcass. Further experiments that used heaters to artificially warm the carcasses directly proved that cooperation among beetles was indeed encouraged by higher temperatures.
Many studies have suggested that global warming might cause higher levels of conflict in human societies. But by studying how changes in an environment impact cooperation in burying beetles, Sun et al. provide new insights into how climate change may affect the future success of other social animals, including humans.
PMCID: PMC4042004  PMID: 24842999
social conquest; social conflict; grouping benefit; burying beetles; generalist-specialist; other
21.  MicroRNA-203 inhibits malignant melanoma cell migration by targeting versican 
MicroRNA (miR)-203 has been demonstrated to function as a suppressor in tumorigenesis. Recently, miR-203 was reported to play a role in malignant melanoma (MM); however, the detailed function of miR-203 in MM remains unclear. In the present study, the expression of miR-203 was shown to be significantly downregulated in MM tissues when compared with normal adjacent tissues. Based on a bioinformatic prediction, versican was further identified as a novel target of miR-203, and the expression of versican was markedly increased in MM tissues. Inhibition of miR-203 increased the protein expression of versican, while upregulation of miR-203 inhibited the protein expression of versican in MM A375 cells. In addition, the upregulation of versican significantly promoted A375 cell migration; however, upregulation of miR-203 suppressed A375 cell migration. The present study further investigated whether miR-203 was involved in versican-mediated A375 cell migration, and the results indicated that upregulation of miR-203 significantly inhibited A375 cell migration, which was impaired by overexpression of versican. These observations indicated that versican functions as a downstream effector in miR-203-mediated MM cell migration. Therefore, the results demonstrated that miR-203 exhibited an inhibitory effect on MM cell migration via directly targeting versican, thus, may become an effective inhibitor for MM metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4061213  PMID: 24944639
malignant melanoma; microRNA-203; versican; migration
22.  Clinical and genetic characteristics for the Urofacial Syndrome (UFS) 
The Urofacial (Ochoa) Syndrome (UFS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder and over 100 patients have been reported thus far. UFS is characterized by the abnormal facial expression and dysfunctional voiding. The patients show a peculiar distortion of the facial expression (grimacing as if in pain or sadness when they tried to smile or laugh) along with urinary tract infection, enuresis, vesicoureteral reflux and hydronephrosis without any underlying neurological lesion and previous urinary obstruction. Some patients are also noted with nocturnal lagophthalmos. Until 2010, HPSE2, the gene encodes Heparanse 2 on chromosome 10, was thought to be the only culprit gene for this syndrome. However, another criminal gene, LRIG2, which encodes leucine-rich repeats and immunoglobulin-like domains 2, was also come into the light in 2012. Studies for dissecting the biological functions of HPSE2 and LRIG2 in urinary abnormalities are ongoing. In this minireview, we will update the discovery of novel clinical manifestations relevant to this syndrome and discuss with focus for the impact of HPSE2 on voiding dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC4069969  PMID: 24966895
Urofacial Syndrome; dysfunctional voiding; HPSE2; LRIG2; facial expression
23.  Mast cell-derived serine proteinase regulates T helper 2 polarization 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4649.
Although mast cells play a critical role in allergic reactions, the cells are also involved in the protective immunity in the body. This study aims to investigate the role of mast cells in immune regulation during aberrant T helper (Th)2 responses. In this study, an adoptive antigen-specific Th2 response model was established with mast cell-deficient mice to test the role of mast cell in the immune regulation. Cell culture was employed to test the role of mast cells in the modulation of the expression of B cell lymphoma 6 protein (Bcl-6) in Th2 cells. The results showed that after adoptive transfer with immune cells, the mast cell-deficient mice showed stronger Th2 pattern responses in the intestine than that in the mast cell-sufficient mice. Mast cell-derived mouse mast cell protease-6 increased the expression of Bcl-6 in Th2 cells. Bcl-6 inhibited the expression of GATA-3 in Th2 cells, subsequently, forkhead box P3 was increased and the Th2 cytokines were reduced in the cells; the cells thus showed the immune regulatory properties similar to regulatory T cells. We conclude that bedsides initiating immune inflammation, mast cells also contribute to the immune regulation on Th2 polarization.
PMCID: PMC3983597  PMID: 24721951
24.  Staphylococcal enterotoxin B suppresses Alix and compromises intestinal epithelial barrier functions 
The epithelial barrier dysfunction plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of a broad array of immune diseases. Alix protein is involved in the endolysosome system. This study aims to elucidate the role of Alix in the maintenance of epithelial barrier function.
The results showed that Alix was detected in T84 cells at both mRNA and protein levels. Exposure to Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) markedly suppressed the expression of Alix in T84 cells, which could be blocked by knocking down the Toll like receptor 2. The exposure to SEB did not affect the TER, but markedly increased the permeability of T84 monolayers to OVA; the OVA passing through T84 monolayers still preserved the antigenicity manifesting inducing antigen specific T cells proliferation.
Alix protein plays a critical role in the maintenance of the barrier function of T84 monolayers.
PMCID: PMC3998733  PMID: 24712823
Alix; Epithelial cell; Barrier function; Staphylococcal enterotoxin B; Antigenicity
25.  Germline rearrangements in families with strong family history of glioma and malignant melanoma, colon, and breast cancer 
Andersson, Ulrika | Wibom, Carl | Cederquist, Kristina | Aradottir, Steina | Borg, Åke | Armstrong, Georgina N. | Shete, Sanjay | Lau, Ching C. | Bainbridge, Matthew N. | Claus, Elizabeth B. | Barnholtz-Sloan, Jill | Lai, Rose | Il'yasova, Dora | Houlston, Richard S. | Schildkraut, Joellen | Bernstein, Jonine L. | Olson, Sara H. | Jenkins, Robert B. | Lachance, Daniel H. | Wrensch, Margaret | Davis, Faith G. | Merrell, Ryan | Johansen, Christoffer | Sadetzki, Siegal | Bondy, Melissa L. | Melin, Beatrice S. | Adatto, Phyllis | Morice, Fabian | Payen, Sam | McQuinn, Lacey | McGaha, Rebecca | Guerra, Sandra | Paith, Leslie | Roth, Katherine | Zeng, Dong | Zhang, Hui | Yung, Alfred | Aldape, Kenneth | Gilbert, Mark | Weinberger, Jeffrey | Colman, Howard | Conrad, Charles | de Groot, John | Forman, Arthur | Groves, Morris | Levin, Victor | Loghin, Monica | Puduvalli, Vinay | Sawaya, Raymond | Heimberger, Amy | Lang, Frederick | Levine, Nicholas | Tolentino, Lori | Saunders, Kate | Thach, Thu-Trang | Iacono, Donna Dello | Sloan, Andrew | Gerson, Stanton | Selman, Warren | Bambakidis, Nicholas | Hart, David | Miller, Jonathan | Hoffer, Alan | Cohen, Mark | Rogers, Lisa | Nock, Charles J | Wolinsky, Yingli | Devine, Karen | Fulop, Jordonna | Barrett, Wendi | Shimmel, Kristen | Ostrom, Quinn | Barnett, Gene | Rosenfeld, Steven | Vogelbaum, Michael | Weil, Robert | Ahluwalia, Manmeet | Peereboom, David | Staugaitis, Susan | Schilero, Cathy | Brewer, Cathy | Smolenski, Kathy | McGraw, Mary | Naska, Theresa | Rosenfeld, Steven | Ram, Zvi | Blumenthal, Deborah T. | Bokstein, Felix | Umansky, Felix | Zaaroor, Menashe | Cohen, Avi | Tzuk-Shina, Tzeela | Voldby, Bo | Laursen, René | Andersen, Claus | Brennum, Jannick | Henriksen, Matilde Bille | Marzouk, Maya | Davis, Mary Elizabeth | Boland, Eamon | Smith, Marcel | Eze, Ogechukwu | Way, Mahalia | Lada, Pat | Miedzianowski, Nancy | Frechette, Michelle | Paleologos, Nina | Byström, Gudrun | Svedberg, Eva | Huggert, Sara | Kimdal, Mikael | Sandström, Monica | Brännström, Nikolina | Hayat, Amina | Tihan, Tarik | Zheng, Shichun | Berger, Mitchel | Butowski, Nicholas | Chang, Susan | Clarke, Jennifer | Prados, Michael | Rice, Terri | Sison, Jeannette | Kivett, Valerie | Duo, Xiaoqin | Hansen, Helen | Hsuang, George | Lamela, Rosito | Ramos, Christian | Patoka, Joe | Wagenman, Katherine | Zhou, Mi | Klein, Adam | McGee, Nora | Pfefferle, Jon | Wilson, Callie | Morris, Pagan | Hughes, Mary | Britt-Williams, Marlin | Foft, Jessica | Madsen, Julia | Polony, Csaba | McCarthy, Bridget | Zahora, Candice | Villano, John | Engelhard, Herbert | Borg, Ake | Chanock, Stephen K | Collins, Peter | Elston, Robert | Kleihues, Paul | Kruchko, Carol | Petersen, Gloria | Plon, Sharon | Thompson, Patricia | Johansen, C. | Sadetzki, S. | Melin, B. | Bondy, Melissa L. | Lau, Ching C. | Scheurer, Michael E. | Armstrong, Georgina N. | Liu, Yanhong | Shete, Sanjay | Yu, Robert K. | Aldape, Kenneth D. | Gilbert, Mark R. | Weinberg, Jeffrey | Houlston, Richard S. | Hosking, Fay J. | Robertson, Lindsay | Papaemmanuil, Elli | Claus, Elizabeth B. | Claus, Elizabeth B. | Barnholtz-Sloan, Jill | Sloan, Andrew E. | Barnett, Gene | Devine, Karen | Wolinsky, Yingli | Lai, Rose | McKean-Cowdin, Roberta | Il'yasova, Dora | Schildkraut, Joellen | Sadetzki, Siegal | Yechezkel, Galit Hirsh | Bruchim, Revital Bar-Sade | Aslanov, Lili | Sadetzki, Siegal | Johansen, Christoffer | Kosteljanetz, Michael | Broholm, Helle | Bernstein, Jonine L. | Olson, Sara H. | Schubert, Erica | DeAngelis, Lisa | Jenkins, Robert B. | Yang, Ping | Rynearson, Amanda | Andersson, Ulrika | Wibom, Carl | Henriksson, Roger | Melin, Beatrice S. | Cederquist, Kristina | Aradottir, Steina | Borg, Åke | Merrell, Ryan | Lada, Patricia | Wrensch, Margaret | Wiencke, John | Wiemels, Joe | McCoy, Lucie | McCarthy, Bridget J. | Davis, Faith G.
Neuro-Oncology  2014;16(10):1333-1340.
Although familial susceptibility to glioma is known, the genetic basis for this susceptibility remains unidentified in the majority of glioma-specific families. An alternative approach to identifying such genes is to examine cancer pedigrees, which include glioma as one of several cancer phenotypes, to determine whether common chromosomal modifications might account for the familial aggregation of glioma and other cancers.
Germline rearrangements in 146 glioma families (from the Gliogene Consortium; were examined using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. These families all had at least 2 verified glioma cases and a third reported or verified glioma case in the same family or 2 glioma cases in the family with at least one family member affected with melanoma, colon, or breast cancer.The genomic areas covering TP53, CDKN2A, MLH1, and MSH2 were selected because these genes have been previously reported to be associated with cancer pedigrees known to include glioma.
We detected a single structural rearrangement, a deletion of exons 1-6 in MSH2, in the proband of one family with 3 cases with glioma and one relative with colon cancer.
Large deletions and duplications are rare events in familial glioma cases, even in families with a strong family history of cancers that may be involved in known cancer syndromes.
PMCID: PMC4165415  PMID: 24723567
CDKN2A/B; family history; glioma; MLH1; MSH2; TP53

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